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 September 13, 2006 9:17 AM

We Are One

We are ONE....

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 September 08, 2006 12:59 PM

Buddhism is for Everyone: There are countless religions in the world; none of which bear any less creedence than the other.

Faith is not a choice. It cannot be taught in "Sunday School" or frightened into fruition. It cannot be defeated on a battlefield. It cannot be proven or disproven in a petri dish. The depth of our individual faith cannot be reached with our minds.

Your religious affiliation is simply irrelevant. Fundamental Buddhism helps us build a sound foundation upon which (as my friend Amin eloquently described) an "unshakeable contentment and happiness" is possible.

Key Points:

*A religion of true peace that does not advocate any violence in its name.
*A religion that provides a clear path for spiritual and personal development.
*A religion that teaches us to take full responsibility for our actions.
*A religion that has no room for blind faith or unthinking worship.
A religion that welcomes questions and investigations into its own teachings.
A religion that says sincere followers of other beliefs are also rewarded in the afterlife.
*A religion that emphasizes compassion, tolerance and moderation.

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 June 26, 2006 1:01 AM

You're confused? It's been a week and I still can't figure out what happened.  [ send green star]
 June 18, 2006 3:07 PM

I'm still confused! LOLNo Idea  [ send green star]
I guess I just don't get it. June 18, 2006 12:28 PM

I'm sorry. I apologize. I'm just making too many mistakes. Please forgive me. Good idea to delete all my posts. Everyone will very likely be happy if you go ahead and block me. I wouldn't blame you. I need to get more serious. I tend to take Zen way too lightly.  [ send green star]
Sarvo June 18, 2006 6:29 AM

We all find our way in our own way and at our own pace. The whole point being that one is 'finding his/her way" The fact that someone makes the effort to begin their journey to grow & become awakened, brings me only posiitve feelings. In order to evolve, first, we must have a place to start. We cannot start or begin unless we are novices. If we all start as masters or all knowing...what would be the point? Who would be humbled enough to start the journey? Comforting  [ send green star]
 June 18, 2006 6:07 AM

News 2Thank u Patti! =D Cool I wish I could attend a retreat!!!

Doubt savro... Confused 4
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 June 17, 2006 4:05 PM

There is no justice when there is animal-killing. Lord Buddha wanted to stop it completely, and therefore his cult of ahiàsä was propagated not only in India but also outside the country.
Technically Lord Buddha’s philosophy is called atheistic because there is no acceptance of the Supreme Lord and because that system of philosophy denied the authority of the Vedas. But that is an act of camouflage by the Lord. Lord Buddha is the incarnation of Godhead. As such, he is the original propounder of Vedic knowledge. He therefore cannot reject Vedic philosophy. But he rejected it outwardly because the sura-dviña, or the demons who are always envious of the devotees of Godhead, try to support cow-killing or animal-killing from the pages of the Vedas, and this is now being done by the modernized sannyäsés. Lord Buddha had to reject the authority of the Vedas altogether. This is simply technical, and had it not been so he would not have been so accepted as the incarnation of Godhead.
Nor would he have been worshiped in the transcendental songs of the poet Jayadeva, who is a Vaiñëava äcärya. Lord Buddha preached the preliminary principles of the Vedas in a manner suitable for the time being (and so also did Çaìkaräcärya) to establish the authority of the Vedas. Therefore both Lord Buddha and Äcärya Çaìkara paved the path of theism, and Vaiñëava äcäryas, specifically Lord Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu, led the people on the path towards a realization of going back to Godhead.
We are glad that people are taking interest in the nonviolent movement of Lord Buddha. But will they take the matter very seriously and close the animal slaughterhouses altogether? If not, there is no meaning to the ahiàsä cult.
Çrémad-Bhägavatam was composed just prior to the beginning of the age of Kali (about five thousand years ago), and Lord Buddha appeared about twenty-six hundred years ago. Therefore in the Çrémad-Bhägavatam Lord Buddha is foretold. Such is the authority of this clear scripture. There are many such prophecies, and they are being fulfilled one after another. They will indicate the positive standing of Çrémad-Bhägavatam, which is without trace of mistake, illusion, cheating and imperfection, which are the four flaws of all conditioned souls. The liberated souls are above these flaws; therefore they can see and foretell things which are to take place on distant future dates. (Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Srimad Bhagavatam 1:3:24. text and purport.)  [ send green star]
 June 17, 2006 4:02 PM

tataù kalau sampravåtte
sammohäya sura-dviñäm
buddho nämnäïjana-sutaù
kékaöeñu bhaviñyati
tataù—thereafter; kalau—the age of Kali; sampravåtte—having ensued; sammohäya—for the purpose of deluding; sura—the theists; dviñäm—those who are envious; buddhaù—Lord Buddha; nämnä—of the name; aïjana-sutaù—whose mother was Aïjanä; kékaöeñu—in the province of Gayä (Bihar); bhaviñyati—will take place.

Then, in the beginning of Kali-yuga, the Lord will appear as Lord Buddha, the son of Aïjanä, in the province of Gayä, just for the purpose of deluding those who are envious of the faithful theist.

PURPORT by HDG Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada:
Lord Buddha, a powerful incarnation of the Personality of Godhead, appeared in the province of Gayä (Bihar) as the son of Aïjanä, and he preached his own conception of nonviolence and deprecated even the animal sacrifices sanctioned in the Vedas. At the time when Lord Buddha appeared, the people in general were atheistic and preferred animal flesh to anything else. On the plea of Vedic sacrifice, every place was practically turned into a slaughterhouse, and animal-killing was indulged in unrestrictedly. Lord Buddha preached nonviolence, taking pity on the poor animals. He preached that he did not believe in the tenets of the Vedas and stressed the adverse psychological effects incurred by animal-killing. Less intelligent men of the age of Kali, who had no faith in God, followed his principle, and for the time being they were trained in moral discipline and nonviolence, the preliminary steps for proceeding further on the path of God realization. He deluded the atheists because such atheists who followed his principles did not believe in God, but they kept their absolute faith in Lord Buddha, who himself was the incarnation of God. Thus the faithless people were made to believe in God in the form of Lord Buddha. That was the mercy of Lord Buddha: he made the faithless faithful to him.
Killing of animals before the advent of Lord Buddha was the most prominent feature of the society. People claimed that these were Vedic sacrifices. When the Vedas are not accepted through the authoritative disciplic succession, the casual readers of the Vedas are misled by the flowery language of that system of knowledge. In the Bhagavad-gétä a comment has been made on such foolish scholars (avipaçcitaù). The foolish scholars of Vedic literature who do not care to receive the transcendental message through the transcendental realized sources of disciplic succession are sure to be bewildered. To them, the ritualistic ceremonies are considered to be all in all. They have no depth of knowledge. According to the Bhagavad-gétä (15.15), vedaiç ca sarvair aham eva vedyaù: the whole system of the Vedas is to lead one gradually to the path of the Supreme Lord. The whole theme of Vedic literature is to know the Supreme Lord, the individual soul, the cosmic situation and the relation between all these items. When the relation is known, the relative function begins, and as a result of such a function the ultimate goal of life or going back to Godhead takes place in the easiest manner. Unfortunately, unauthorized scholars of the Vedas become captivated by the purificatory ceremonies only, and natural progress is thereby checked.
To such bewildered persons of atheistic propensity, Lord Buddha is the emblem of theism. He therefore first of all wanted to check the habit of animal-killing. The animal-killers are dangerous elements on the path going back to Godhead. There are two types of animal-killers. The soul is also sometimes called the “animal” or the living being. Therefore, both the slaughterer of animals and those who have lost their identity of soul are animal-killers.
Mahäräja Parékñit said that only the animal-killer cannot relish the transcendental message of the Supreme Lord. Therefore if people are to be educated to the path of Godhead, they must be taught first and foremost to stop the process of animal-killing as above mentioned. It is nonsensical to say that animal-killing has nothing to do with spiritual realization. By this dangerous theory many so-called sannyäsés have sprung up by the grace of Kali-yuga who preach animal-killing under the garb of the Vedas. The subject matter has already been discussed in the conversation between Lord Caitanya and Maulana Chand Kazi Shaheb. The animal sacrifice as stated in the Vedas is different from the unrestricted animal-killing in the slaughterhouse. Because the asuras or the so-called scholars of Vedic literatures put forward the evidence of animal-killing in the Vedas, Lord Buddha superficially denied the authority of the Vedas. This rejection of the Vedas by Lord Buddha was adopted in order to save people from the vice of animal-killing as well as to save the poor animals from the slaughtering process of their big brothers who clamor for universal brotherhood, peace, justice and equity.

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 June 17, 2006 3:37 PM


 Mindful Reminders


The Tao and the Dharma
 a day long retreat with  Franz Moeckl
Saturday, June 24, 10am–5pm
Fee: $40  click here for on-line registration

In the chinese art of Qigong (Chi Kung) we experience through slow, gentle movements in harmony with the breath, our body as a lively, pulsating field of energy. In the buddhist art of Vipassana Meditation we also see our mental body (thoughts, emotions, etc.) as simple, energetic structures. Sensing both, body and mind, as a unified field of energy in constant motion and free of personal ownership, we enjoy a deeper connection with ourselves and all of life. You will learn some simple Qigong exercises for strengthening your immune system, increasing vitality and giving you an overall feeling of well-being. Includes handouts.

Anyone who has been top IMS in Barre during the Spring retreats will know Franz Moeck.  He has practiced Tai ji and Qi-Gong for more than 20 years. In 1985 he began to practice vipassana meditation both in the west and in Asia, where he spent time as a Buddhist monk. He trained at the Stress Reduction Clinic, founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn, and teaches in the United States, Europe, and Asia.



Day of Silence and Reflection on the Paramis Uppekha (Equanimity)
with Ajahn Vajiro

Sunday, June 25, 9:30am–5pm *
*please note earlier start time

Fee: donation

The Buddha spoke of ten spiritual perfections, the paramis, leading to Buddhahood. Equanimity is the tenth of these perfections, and is a core practice as well as the manifestation of the fruits of the practice. This retreat day will be held in noble silence for those who wish to deepen the practice and understanding of the paramita of Equanimity. Ajahn Vajiro will guide us in sitting and walking meditation and contemplating Equanimity.

It is suggested that participants bring their lunch to maintain the meditative atmosphere and concentration.


Venerable Vajiro (Phil Gunton) was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 1953. He was educated at Lancing College in England, and went on to study Economics at Bath University. Upon graduating in 1974, he took up a career in accountancy. During this period, a friend encouraged him to go on a ten-day meditation retreat with John Coleman at the Oakenholt Buddhist Centre near Oxford. He attended further retreats there in 1976 and 1977. Hearing about the visit Ajahn Chah and Ajahn Sumedho made to Oakenholt in 1977, he went to meet them at the Hampstead Vihara. He eventually moved next door to the vihara, while continuing his training as an accountant. In 1978, however, he asked to join the community as an anagarika; he left for Thailand just after the community moved out of London to Chithurst in June 1979. In October that year he became a samanera, and he received upasampada from Ajahn Chah in June the following year. Venerable Vajiro returned to England in 1984, and assisted with the establishment of Amaravati Buddhist Centre. From 1985 to 1986 he resided at Harnham Buddhist Monastery and from 1986 to 1993 he lived at 'Cittaviveka'. Then between 1993 and 1998 he led the community in 'Bodhinyanarama' Wellington, New Zealand. He spent the following three years living quietly in the hermitage 'Sanghaloka' near Melbourne, Australia. Before moving to Amaravati Buddhist Monastery, where he presently resides.



For more information, please visit hosting by Photobucket

Phone  212-213-4802


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 February 05, 2006 7:11 PM

Not-Self (Anatta)

During his enlightenment experience, the Buddha found no evidence for a permanent self or soul. This is quite a challenging notion for us all. If there is no such thing as a permanent self or soul, then who am I? Do I exist?

Buddhism argues that what we call the self is an ever-changing flux of mental and physical elements. Traditionally these are divided up into five components known as khandhas. What we call the 'self' therefore is comprised of the body (corporeality), mental formations (including our will to act or volition), feelings, perception and consciousness. None of these individually or collectively can be called a self. Conventionally, however, it is accepted that we are individuals but we should not be mistaken into thinking that we have an essential nature that is unchanging, like a soul.

A common analogy is to compare the self to a car. The word car is a concept, a fabrication of our mind. The reality is that the car is a combination of components. Similarly our personality is combination of different elements that conventionally and conceptually we give a name to.

Although the anatta doctrine is challenging to our everyday perspective, on the other hand, it is quite liberating. Our tendency to indulge in unwholesome activities is not a personality trait, not part of our nature, it's something we can change!

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The Three Jewels February 05, 2006 7:10 PM

In Buddhism, the Buddha, the Dhamma (or teachings) and the Sangha (the community of monks and/or nuns) are regarded with great reverence. They are metaphorically termed 'jewels' or 'gems' because, like precious stones, they are highly valued. Why should this be the case?
The Buddha is the prime source of authority and inspiration. His own experience shows that there is an escape from the world of suffering and that it is achievable through one's own efforts. The fact that he wanted to show others the way to nibbana also makes him worthy of the greatest respect.
The Dhamma is the body of teachings. By following theses we can make great spiritual progress and even win enlightenment. They are also worthy of great respect as they offer us the means to escape from the world of dukkha (suffering)..
The Sangha is the living example of the teachings of the Buddha put into action. Monks and nuns devote their whole lives to following the Buddha's teachings and therefore offer a living example to all who - in whatever degree - follow the Buddhist path. The monks and nuns offer support to each other and offer spiritual support to the lay community.
The Three Jewels are also known as The Three Refuges. In the troubled waters of samsara, where nothing is stable or secure, the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha are seen as offering a place of protection and comfort. When a person becomes a Buddhist, they will often recite the following formula:

I go for refuge to the Buddha
I go for refuge to the Dhamma
I go for refuge to the Sangha.

Practicing Buddhists will also repeat this as a means of continually refocusing on their commitment to the Buddhist way.
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 February 05, 2006 8:47 AM

yes as it says do not be a hurtful bummer trip to others!  [ send green star]
 February 05, 2006 8:22 AM

Zen Garden Zen Garden

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Right Livelihood February 05, 2006 7:56 AM

             zen room

For many of us, earning a living occupies a great deal of our time. How we choose to earn our living has, almost inevitably, ethical implications. It is no surprise therefore to see that Right Livelihood, the fifth factor of the Noble Eightfold Path, is given serious consideration by the Buddha.

Right and wrong Livelihood can be broadly divided according to the following criteria. Right livelihood is that which brings true benefit to oneself and/or others. Wrong livelihood is that which is to the detriment of oneself or others. Remember, in Buddhism it is taught that to do harm to others is also to do harm to oneself. According to the law of kamma (Pali) or karma (Sanskrit) hurting others sows the seed for one's own suffering at some future date.


Obvious examples of what would be regarded as Right Livelihood are easy to find. The work of doctors and nurses, teachers, social workers for example. But also think about all people who work in the service industry in one way or another - shop assistants, chefs, refuse collectors and so on. In fact much of the work that goes on in the world is for the service of others.

As for wrong livelihood, anything that is to do with exploitation, deceit, killing and destruction are deemed to be unacceptable on ethical grounds. In the scriptures the Buddha refers to the practice of 'deceit, treachery,, soothsaying, trickery, usury' as wrong livelihood. Elsewhere he refers to five trades that should be avoided: 'trading in arms, in living beings,in flesh, in intoxicating drinks, and in poison'.

For Buddhism, therefore, the international arms trade is a non-starter. So too is the sex trade, selling alcohol, and trades which are involved with the slaughter of animals.

Moral Dilemmas

Of course, where ethical principles are involved, there are inevitable moral dilemmas that each of us as individuals have to deal with. Here are some examples:

Buddhism says that killing other beings is wrong - does this mean that I shouldn't seek to defend my country if it is threatened by a hostile force? Is being a soldier necessarily an example of wrong livelihood?

Buddhism says that it is wrong to kill animals - what if my house is overrun with rats or infested with cockroaches? Is working for the environmental health department eradicating 'vermin' necessarily evil?

Other aspects of the Buddha's teaching are less contentious. You don't have to be a Buddhist to know that deceit and treachery are wrong. Being a con-man is clearly unsound from an ethical perspective. But what about jobs where the distortion of the truth can sometimes be deliberate - in the media and in advertising for example?

Using the Buddha's guidelines, it is ultimately down to us as individuals to assess the nature of our work and how comfortable - in ethical terms - we are with how we earn our living.

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Right Effort February 05, 2006 7:46 AM

The Noble Eightfold Path: Right Effort

The sixth factor of the Noble Eightfold Path is Right Effort. This consists of four elements: the effort to avoid, the effort to overcome, the effort to develop and the effort to maintain.

The Effort to Avoid
The effort to avoid is to avoid the 'arising of evil'. If unwholesome thoughts should start to enter the mind - thoughts of ill-will, for example - we can turn our attention away from them and not let them intrude. Like someone bent on trouble who knocks at your door, you keep the door shut. The Buddha advises us to keep a close guard on our senses so that thoughts of attraction or aversion do not take hold.

The Effort to Overcome
If unwholesome thoughts have taken hold of the mind, however, we can attempt to overcome them by dispelling them. A useful analogy is ejecting someone from your house bent on doing you harm. 'He does not retain any thought of sensual lust, ill-will or grief; or any other unwholesome states that may have arisen; he abandons them , dispels them, destroys them, causes them to disappear'.

Additionally, the Buddha suggested five methods of dealing with unwelcome thoughts. First, think of another object which is wholesome. Secondly, consider that unwholesome thoughts will have bad karmic effects and lead to some form of suffering in the future. Thirdly, try to ignore such thoughts by not dwelling on them. Fourthly, dissect such thoughts, analyzing their origin and what they consist of. Finally, the Buddha suggests that 'with teeth clenched and tongue pressed against the gums, he should with his mind restrain, suppress and root out these thoughts; and in doing so, these evil and unwholesome thoughts of greed, hatred and delusion will dissolve and disappear; and the mind will inwardly become stilled and calm, composed and concentrated'.

The Effort to Develop
The effort to develop wholesome states such as benevolence and kindness is like inviting a welcome friend to your house. More precisely, the Buddha urges his followers to develop 'the Elements of Enlightenment': Mindfulness, Investigation of Truth, Energy, Rapture, Tranquillity, Concentration and Equanimity.

The Effort to Maintain
The effort to maintain is to make these wholesome states habitual to one's mind, like asking the welcome guest to stay permanently. 'He keeps firmly in his mind a favorable object of concentration that has arisen'.

The Buddha refers to these collectively as 'the four great efforts' and states that 'he who firmly clings to them may put an end to suffering'.

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Right Mindfulness February 05, 2006 7:43 AM

The Noble Eightfold Path: Right Mindfulness

The seventh factor of the Noble Eightfold Path is Right Mindfulness. Encapsulated in this is the Buddha's teaching on The Four Foundations of Mindfulness, which is outlined in the Satipatthana Sutta. According to the text, mindfulness is 'the direct path to the attainment of purity, for the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, for the end of pain and grief...for the realization of Nibbana'.
The word 'mindfulness' can be explained as a combination of 'bare attention' and 'clear comprehension'. The purpose of practicing mindfulness it is to see things as they really are, unswayed by aversion or attraction. The four categories from within which mindfulness can be approached are: 1. contemplation of the body 2. contemplation of feelings 3. contemplation of the mind 4. contemplation of mental objects.
Contemplation of the Body
The most widely practiced technique in this category is the breathing meditation known as anapanasati. This involves the meditator watching over the in and out breathing: 'When making a long inhalation, he knows: "I make a long inhalation"...when making a long exhalation, he knows: "I make a long exhalation". This process is conducive to calm, but this isn't the primary objective. The aim to come to a realization of the impermanence of the body and the absence of a permanent self.
Another technique is to bring attention to one's postures: 'when walking, he understands: "I am standing"; 'when standing, he understands: "I am standing"; 'when sitting, he understands: "I am sitting"; 'when lying down, he understands: "I am lying down"'. Other practices include focusing on the 32 parts of the body (and their foulness) and on corpses in various stages of decay and corruption. These last two practices are less morbid than they might appear. Again, the aim is to see the body objectively, as something prone to change and to decay and ultimately lacking a permanent self.
Contemplation of Feelings
The process of watching and noting is the principal activity. Here the meditator focuses on his feelings and determines whether the feeling is pleasant, unpleasant or neutral. The idea is to observe feelings objectively, in a detached manner - to see them as fleeting and passing and not part of what could be considered a permanent self.
Contemplation of Mind
Here the meditator observes his state of mind, whether it is affected by lust/attraction, by hatred/aversion or by delusion. Again, just like feelings, these states of mind are seen as transient, features not permanently embedded in one's psychological make up.
Contemplation of Mental Objects
This category covers the meditator's ability to become aware of the five hindrances within him. These are obstacles - namely sensual desire, ill-will, sloth and torpor, restlessness, and doubt - which are obstructive to the attainment of blissful states known as jhanas. He will also note that what we normally designate 'the self' is made up of five 'aggregates' or khandhas - corporeality, perception, feelings, mental formations, and consciousness. He will come to an understanding of the senses, factors which are conducive to enlightenment (such as energy and rapture) and the four noble truths.
The sutta on The Four Foundations of Mindfulness is unequivocal in the importance it assigns to these practices: 'If anyone should develop these four foundations of mindfulness in such a way for seven years...six years, five years.. four years...three years...two year... seven months... six months, five months...four months...three months...two month...half a days, one of two fruits could be expected for him: either final knowledge here and now, or if there is a trace of clinging left, non return [to the human realm]'.

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Right Speech February 05, 2006 7:28 AM

The Noble Eightfold Path: Right Speech

The Buddha understood the significance of speech, its power and its potential for good or ill. It is no surprise, therefore, to see it as the third factor of the Noble Eightfold Path. In his teaching on this the Buddha advises us to abstain from four unwholesome activities: lying, telling tales, harsh language and frivolous talk.


The Buddha instructs us to tell the truth, to avoid deception through speech, to be reliable and trustworthy. We should never lie for the advantage of ourselves or others. Our answers to questions should be plain and simple: called upon and asked as a witness to tell what he knows, he answers if he knows nothing: 'I know nothing', and if he knows, he answers 'I know'.

Telling Tales

Telling tales is an unwholesome activity that breeds discord and distrust. The Buddha instructs as follows: What he has heard here, he does not repeat there, so as to cause dissension there; and what he has heard there, he does not repeat here, so as to cause dissension here. What we should be interested in is promoting unity and taking delight in the harmony that can be fostered by appropriate speech.

Harsh Language

We should also, according to Buddha's instructions, avoid harsh language. This is abusive and hateful language that is designed to hurt those who it is aimed at. In contrast he urged us to be gentle and polite in our speech, advising us to be friendly and full of sympathy...with heart full of love, and free from any hidden malice.

Frivolous Talk

Finally, the Buddha gives further recognition of the importance of using language in a wholesome and productive way. What we say should be of benefit to ourselves and others: He speaks at the right time, in accordance with facts, speaks what is useful. Speech, says the Buddha, should be like a treasure, uttered at the right moment,...moderate and full of sense.

Like any other wholesome actions Right Speech brings good results such as respect and trust. It is also social cohesive, bringing unity and harmony between people.

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What is the Noble Eightfold Path? February 04, 2006 4:30 PM

What is the Noble Eightfold Path?
This is the path to Nibbana as outlined by the Buddha. It offers a framework for the development of wisdom, morality and concentration, all of which are essential for spiritual progress:

1. Right Understanding
This entails an understanding of the Four Noble Truths and the other teachings of the Buddha.

2. Right Thought
To have right thought is to be free of sense desire, ill-will or cruelty and to possess thoughts of detachment, loving-kindness and compassion.

3. Right Speech
Right Speech comprises abstaining from lying, gossiping, and using harsh language.

4. Right Action
Right Action is abstaining from killing, stealing and from unlawful sexual intercourse.

5. Right Livelihood
Occupations that necessitate the breaking the five precepts are prohibited. For example, occupations that involve killing (whether animals or humans), sexual misconduct, deceit, taking intoxicating drinks or drugs. For example, trading in arms or prostitution.

6. Right Effort
There are four aspects to this: the effort to avoid the arising of evil, the effort to overcome evil, the effort to develop wholesome states and the effort to maintain wholesome states.

7. Right Mindfulness
This encompasses The Four Foundations of Mindfulness. This involves being mindful of 1. the body and bodily processes 2. feelings 3. states of mind 4. thoughts, ideas, Buddhist teachings such as the Four Noble Truths

8. Right Concentration
The final factor focuses on developing meditative concentration leading to the eradication of the five hindrances and the experience of the four jhanas.
Right Understanding and Right Thought aim to cultivate wisdom, Right Speech, Right Action and Right Livelihood relate to morality, and Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, Right Concentration are conducive to Concentration.

Eight Fold Path

Related Terms
• Buddha
• Four Noble Truths
Definition: According to the Buddha, the only way to achieve nirvana was through this eightfold path:

1. Right Understanding
2. Right Thoughts
3. Right Speech
4. Right Action
5. Right Livelihood
6. Right Effort
7. Right Mindfulness
8. Right Concentration

Right Understanding means an understanding of the Four Noble Truths. Thus, it can be seen that Buddhism relies more upon an attempt to understand the world than to simply have faith in scriptures or revelations.

Right Thoughts involve the idea of placing the principle of renunciation above material indulgence, thinking well of people rather than thinking badly about them, and thoughts of peace rather than of violence or cruelty.

Right Speech involves refraining from lying, slander, gossip, etc.

Right Action is about refraining from stealing, killing, attacking others, etc.

Right Livlihood is about avoiding certain occupations which may not cause one to be directly involved in transgressions against some aspect of the Eightfold Path, but which would implicate someone indirectly in such transgression. Relevant occupations include trade in weapons, slavery, alcohol, etc.

Right Effort is all about attitude - trying to eliminate any evil which has already developed, trying to prevent evil that might develop, trying to maintain any good which has already developed, and trying to promote any good which might yet develop. The basic idea is to keep you pointed in the right direction by focusing upon the principles of fostering good and opposing evil, regardless of what form they might take.

Right Mindfulness is a principle of staying aware of what you are doing at all times. By staying mindful of body, feelings and mind, it is easier to keep doing what is right and avoid doing what is wrong.

Right Meditation is about training the mind to improve both mental and spiritual discipline. Only by attaining an ability to focus on a single object can a person also attain sufficient clam and peace necessary for enlightenment.

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Fundementals In Buddhism February 04, 2006 4:10 PM

The Five Precepts

The ultimate goal of Buddhism is to reach enlightenment, to become a Buddha oneself. This is to be achieved through developing perfect morality and embracing a lifestyle which maximizes opportunities for meditational practices. Often in Buddhism, the essence of this approach is embodied in the lives of monks and nuns who not only live morally pure lives but also give much attention to meditation. Only a small percentage of Buddhist practitioners embrace the monastic life - instead they work in and through the world like anyone else. They have jobs, families, and face the day to day problems that all people encounter in one way or another at different times. Buddhism is all embracing - it has something for al levels of commitment and practice and the lay community is no exception. So what moral guidelines does the Buddha offer lay followers?

Good Moral Practice

On the face of it, he offers five abstentions - things to avoid doing.

The first of these is to abstain from harming living beings. This includes human beings, animals and insects. This is why many (but not all!) Buddhists are vegetarians as the eating of meat involves the slaughter of animals. Interestingly, the Buddha, didn't forbid the eating of meat altogether. His monks were allowed to eat meat providing it hadn't been killed for them specifically.

The second precept is to abstain from taking what is not given - stealing.

The third precept is to abstain from sexual misconduct, such as
being unfaithful to one's partner, involvement with prostitution or pornography or entertaining lustful thoughts.

The fourth precept, abstaining from false speech, includes lying, tale-bearing, and gossiping. The fifth and final precept is to abstain from intoxicating drinks and drugs - of course, drugs taken for medicinal purposes are perfectly acceptable.

Breaking the Fifth Precept
Living in the World

One story from Mongolia warns of the dangers of breaking the fifth precept. A Buddhist lama (spiritual master) was traveling amongst the nomadic tribes. The people would give him food and lodging in exchange for his blessings. One evening he was offered lodging by a young woman who lived alone. She made it conditional that he would have to do one of three things: sacrifice a goat, sleep with his hostess or drink alcohol. He decided on the last of these options,
thinking that drinking alcohol was the least harmful of the three. One drink led to another, however,  and before long he was drunk. In this state, the sound of the goat started to annoy him so much that he went out and killed it,  and when he woke up the next morning he found he had been to bed with the hostess!


The breaking of  any of the precepts has karmic consequences which will ripen in the future for good or ill. The precepts are not just about abstention, however - they have a positive, proactive dimension. Paralleling the abstention from harming living beings is fostering an attitude of kindness and consideration for all beings. Instead of stealing, generosity; instead of sexual misconduct, commitment and fidelity to one's partner; instead of falsehood, a commitment to honesty and fair-dealing; and finally, instead of self-indulgence with intoxicants, developing clarity of mind. Overall, the precepts offer a clear moral foundation which has benefits for how we interact with others and our own spiritual progress.
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